Decoding Period Worries: Talking Periods With Your Daughter 101

Posted: July 4, 2015

Talking to your daughter about periods in a free and frank manner is important. Here are some of the many things she needs to know.

Growing Up! It was a dream state for me and many others of my generation for it meant freedom to do many things that were simply ‘not allowed’ as girls. Wear nail polish, high heels, cut hair and so on… sigh… little did we realise that it meant a lot a bodily changes too. These were quite scary and created huge fears in our minds.

As I watch the girls in my neighbourhood grow up, I am happy they have so many avenues to clear their doubts. Yet, this very plethora of ads and electronic information can be confusing and it’s their mothers who are the best persons to guide them through this change.

That’s right. Periods can be difficult for some girls but a little reassurance from Mom will go a long way to make these days less stressful.

Some mothers find it embarrassing to talk about menstrual periods as do dads who have this responsibility. However all it entails is a little frankness and truth. I would like to share some of the queries I had faced both as a mother and during the course of my work.

1. Will it hurt?

This is a tricky question to answer as some girls do suffer from cramps. Without going into too much detail or creating fears, help her understand that any discomfort is temporary and can be managed. Together, visit trusted websites or refer to books to help her understand the what, why and how of a menstrual cycle.

2. Is this when girls use sanitary napkins?

This is a natural corollary once girls understand what menstruation is. Correctly chosen sanitary napkins absorb discharge, prevent clothes from getting soiled and are comfortable to use. The market offers a vast choice of products today like disposable pads (including skin safe cotton pads), tampons and stitched cloth pads in different price ranges. This is the right time to also explain the correct way to dispose of used pads or tampons.

For many girls, when they start menstruating, it can be difficult to gauge as to when the next period will arrive. Many women too experience irregular period cycles for many reasons. You could therefore suggest to your daughter that she keep a sanitary pad in her regular school bag to be prepared for a sudden period arrival.

3. Will it cause allergies?

Considering that sanitary pads, the most common choice, have to be used round the clock, there is bound to be friction. Further, substances used to make sanitary napkins may irritate the tender skin especially in summers.

It’s a good idea to use products made of natural cotton. These have the advantage of being easily biodegradable as well. The Masmi range of sanitary products is made from pure cotton. They are hypoallergenic and free of perfume and hence seem to be an option worth considering. The Masmi range has specific products for day and night usage.

It is good to change a sanitary napkin every six hours as also use a fresh pad at night to avoid itching or allergies. For those who use tampons, changing them regularly at six-hour intervals is also important to avoid the (small) risk of toxic shock syndrome.

4. Where does one buy sanitary napkins?

All chemists/drug stores stock sanitary napkins as do the neighbourhood kirana stores. Those unable to go out for purchases can even buy online today. The Masmi range is available online and payment can be done by Netbanking, Cash On Delivery (COD) or Credit / Debit Card.

5. Are there any special hygiene requirements?

While hygiene is important at all times, these days need special attention. Stress on the importance of not missing a daily bath, using clean undergarments, changing sanitary pads regularly and keeping the genital area clean and dry.

6. Should I tell Bhaiyya about this?

It’s important to remove any taboos about menstruation. A girl may want to tell her brother about this new development in her life and depending on the age of the brother, it may be a good idea to include him in some discussions. After all, he too would be interacting with girls and this knowledge will help clear myths that may crop up.

Studies and extracurricular activities leave hardly any time for a heart to heart chat, which is vital in a daughter’s crucial ‘growing up’ period. Some extra effort at this critical juncture will go a long way in helping our girls stay confident about their bodies and ready to step out into the world of ‘grown ups’!

This post has been supported by Privyshop, an online store which stocks products that customers may feel shy buying from physical stores. Some of the featured brands are Masmi, Daisy Dee, Eco-Femme, Everteen, Helen Harper, Mederma, Nurture, Red Rose, Shewee and Sofy. Privyshop offers cash on delivery option from many pincodes and online payment orders anywhere in India. 

Mom & Daughter image via Shutterstock

Archana is a physiotherapist, fitness enthusiast, amateur field botanist and nurtures a few bonsai. Happiest

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